The Real Deal Miami

Jorge Pérez pulls out of $1B Watson Island plan

The Related Group head cited fears of a protracted civic battle
August 12, 2013 12:00PM


Watson Island

Developer Jorge Pérez of the Related Group is pulling out of plans to develop Watson Island, citing fears over a protracted approval process, the Miami Herald reported.

Only two months ago, Pérez revealed plans to join Flagstone Island Gardens, the developers who won approval for a smaller yacht marina, retail and a hotel that has been stalled for a dozen years in developing a significantly larger project that would swell to 3 million feet and $1 billion in development costs.

Miami Beach residents and officials quickly coalesced in opposition to the new proposal, saying traffic to the isolated island would become nightmarish.

A Venetian Islands resident even sued the city of Miami for public records regarding the plan, as The Real Deal previously reported.

Miami Beach commissioner and mayoral hopeful Michael Góngora called a press conference and similarly threatened to take the city to court regarding the development.

Watson Island is owned by the city of Miami, where a referendum is required for private development of public waterfront land.

Flagstone’s plans were approved in 2001, but the development stalled. Flagstone blamed the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attack, the economic downturn and construction on the causeway, the Herald reported. [Miami Herald]Emily Schmall